• John Harbison
  • Olympic Dances (1996)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)
  • 3(pic)3(ca)3+ebcl+bcl.ssx+asx.3(cbn)/
  • 17 min

Programme Note

Composer Note:

When the College Band Directors National Association asked me to do a piece for dancers and winds, it immediately suggested something classical, not our musical eighteenth century, but an imaginative vision of ancient worlds. The clear timbres of the winds, playing in small, unconventional chamber groups, constituted my first musical images. Along with these, I thought of an imagined harmony between dance, sport and sound that we can imagine from serene oranges and blacks on Greek vases, the celebration of bodies in motion that we see in the matchless sculpture of ancient times, and perhaps most important to this piece, the celebration of the ideal tableau, the moment frozen in time, that is present still in the friezes that adorn the temples and in the architecture of the temples themselves.

ā€” John Harbison


Olympic Dances: I. Prelude
Olympic Dances: II. Epithalamion
Olympic Dances: III. Variations




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